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Preview: Jeju United vs Daejeon Hana Citizen

Things have not gotten off to the best start for Jeju United under Nam Ki-il in K League 2, as they have only a single point to show for their efforts after the first two rounds, falling at Gwangyang last weekend against Jeonnam Dragons by a single goal.  The new-look Daejeon Hana Citizen, however, has started on a better note, taking four of a possible six points from their opening two matches, as they were held 2-2 at home against Chungnam Asan FC last time out.  Will the islanders see a turn in their fortunes this coming Saturday afternoon, or will Daejeon continue their run of form to open the season?  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs Daejeon Hana Citizen
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Sasturday May 23rd, 2020; 16:00 KST

Last Time Out

Jeonnan Dragons 1-0 Jeju United

Jeju United came out with a different look against Jeonnam, preferring Jung Jo-gook as a single striker flanked by a pair of wingers in Ahn Hyun-beom and Eder, who made his season debut.  The first half didn't present much in terms of concrete chances for either side.  Kang Yoon-sung went into the book just before halftime and the teams went to the break scoreless, with the hosts just edging the first half despite not being able to get on the board.

Jeju had 58 per cent of possession in the match overall, but only four of their fifteen attempts found the target, suggesting that there is still quite a bit of work to do in terms of cleaning up their finishing ability, a problem which plagued them for long stretches last season, leading to a lot of lost points.  They cannot afford to get into the same habit this year over the course of a shortened season.  

Jeonnam would score the only goal of the match just before the hour mark when Kim Ju-won headed home astutely from a free kick.  Try as they might, Jeju were not able to find a way through to goal, and despite going a man down late, when Lee Yoo-hyun was sent off, the Dragons managed to hold on for their first win of the season.


Daejeon Hana Citizen 2-2 Chungnam Asan FC

Chungnam Asan FC celebrated a first of sorts as they picked up their first point in K League 2 following an entertaining encounter with Daejeon Hana Citizen.  In the end, it was fitting to see the sides share the spoils, as Armin Mujakic scored his first ever goal in the K League while Jang Soon-hyuk added a second.  Andre Luis notched a brace for the home side.  

Mujakic opened proceedings on fourteen minutes when his effort at goal struck the underside of the bar on the way in.  It looked like Asan would go to the half with the lead, but Daejeon won a penalty late on in the first half.  Asan 'keeper Ham Seok-min made the original save, but the penalty was re-taken following a VAR review and converted by the Brazilian Luis.

Asan would go back into the lead on 70 minutes when Jang Soon-hyuk headed home from close range.  The lead would not last for long, however, as Luis headed home from a corner with under ten minutes to play.  Things could have ended much differently had it not been for the performance of the Asan custodian of the sticks.  Ham made several saves throughout the match to keep his team in with a shout to win it in the end, but a draw at the final whistle seemed like a fair result,


Previous Meetings

It has been quite some time since Jeju United have faced a team from Daejeon, with the last time coming in the 2015 season.  The islanders had a very distinct edge over the former Citizen club that year, taking seven of a possible nine points during that campaign.  They won 5-0 at home early in the season, and then the sides played to a 2-2 draw in June in Daejeon.  The final match between the two in September, also in Daejeon finished 4-2 to the visitors.

Team News

Jeju opted for a 4-3-3 attacking formation against Jeonnam which brought some success in terms of the possession game, but it didn't translate on the scoreboard.  Nam Ki-il will have to put a bit of thought into his lineup selection for the weekend, as there was quite a bit of rotation from the first match against Seoul E-Land to go with the switch in tactics.  It is understandable that he may be looking to get as many players a run out early in the season in order to build depth within the squad, but he needs to settle on a sure lineup if Jeju is going to put a string of results together which will keep them in contention as the season progresses.

Valentinos Sielis was once again not named to the squad last weekend, so there is still some consternation regarding whether he will be match fit to face Daejeon this weekend.  Seo Jin-su was preferred to Lim Deok-keun in the U-22 slot against the Dragons, so that will be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks as well.

Eder made his season debut for the islanders last week.  He looks fully fit and should be up for selection once again this weekend.  Kwon Han-jin shook off the injury which caused him to be substituted against the Leopards on the first matchday, and will likely again be a candidate for selection.

Andre Luis has looked in fine form for Daejeon thus far with three goals in his first two matches, so he will be a point of concern for Jeju's back line, especially if Sielis is unable to go once again.  Connor Chapman is not match fit as injury concerns continue to linger.  He will be unavailable this weekend.  Meanwhile, according to Hwang Sun-hong, Bruno Baio's injury news is still unconfirmed, but he may be pushed back into action.  In the case he does not play, Daejeon are likely to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with the same lineup that faced Chungnam Asan last weekend.

Hwang regretted the result against Asan, saying that it was a pity about the result and that the players were disappointed, but that he would step back and re-evaluate things and look to focus more on his preparation, concluding that he would win the match against Jeju.

"It's a really tough league, so I have to do a better job with preparation.  Thinking that things can be easy is very dangerous.  We need to focus more," he said

The Adversary

Andre Luis scores against Suwon FC on opening weekend.
Andre Luis has been a factor for Daejeon with three goals in his first two matches this season.

Hwang Sun-hong expressed his concerns following the match with Asan last weekend, saying that there is room for improvement in terms of the team's overall performance going forward.  While Andre Luis had a pair of goals, the rest of  the team looked confused he said and also pointed to the difficulties of the players in breaking down Asan's defensive structure.

The fact they twice went behind to what many would consider lesser opposition, considering Daejeon were billed as one of the preseason favorites for promotion suggests that the wheels still need to get turning in the right direction for the team to build some momentum of their own as the season heads into the summer months.  They will be coming up against a Jeju side who have yet to win this season and who will be at home, so it could complicate matters for them just a bit more as they look to reset after needing to come from behind for a share of the spoils last week.

What to Watch

Jeju have not scored a goal from open play in either of their first two matches, which is obviously a concern.  Tactics have been different in both matches as well, so now the question will be what Nam Ki-il will opt to do this Saturday afternoon.  What kind of attacking formation will he employ?  Will he stick with the experience of Jung Jo-gook leading the line, or will he go back to two up top?

Will he look for balance through the squad, or will he opt for more experience?  Elias Aguilar has the football IQ to break down opposing defenses with his dribbling ability and distribution, but whether he gets the call from the opening whistle or comes on as a substitute shall be seen.  Interestingly, he chose to stay with the club despite relegation, so it would be a wise move to get him as much playing time as possible early in the year.  He and Lee Chang-min will be keys to whatever success Jeju manages to achieve this season, so the islanders really need to establish control in the middle of the park to be effective.



This could be a tricky one to call, but one would have to think that Daejeon have a slight edge going into the encounter having started much better than their opponents in the first two matches this season.  Jeju, meanwhile, need to look to start turning things in their favor in order to risk falling further behind in the standings.  They currently sit ninth in the table with only FC Anyang below them.  They were billed for big things this year and they must start playing to that potential.  It may start this weekend, but they need to begin to find their feet in front of goal.  If they can't, they may still be able to pull out a draw until they can get themselves sorted with their attacking options.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 1-1 Daejeon Hana Citizen 


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